Israel‘s raid on the West Bank region has killed nine Palestinians and left another 20 injured as the violence in Gaza escalates.
The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said that he feared the security situation could worsen after two rockets were fired from Gaza early on Friday, with Israel immediately responding with airstrikes.
According to the Guardian, Washington has raised concern over the escalation in Israeli-Palestinian violence after Israeli forces killed nine Palestinians during a West Bank raid incident.
The United States will send a party to the Middle East on Sunday to discuss the situation, with a visit planned to Egypt, Israel and the West Bank.
The trip was announced just hours after Israeli commandos killed seven gunmen and two civilians in the occupied West Bank.
The Palestinian health ministry said that a 61-year-old woman and a male civilian were among the dead, and about 20 more people were seriously injured during the incident. Two of the casualties were claimed by the militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another four by Hamas and one by the armed wing of the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction.
The Palestinian Authority which governs parts of the West Bank and works alongside Israel to contain militant activity, announced on Thursday night it was suspending security cooperation with the Israeli government due to the suspected signal.
A Palestinian-Dutch filmmaker at the scene said armed Palestinians shot at an Israeli armoured vehicle disguised as a commercial van, at which point the IDF returned fire and a fierce four-hour gun battle ensued, causing widespread damage.
“The situation in Jenin camp is very critical, the Israeli forces had prevented ambulances from reaching the injured people for the first aid treatment”, said the Palestinian health minister, Mai al-Kaila
In a statement, the IDF said it conducted the unusual daytime operation, which ventured deep into the camp, because of intelligence suggesting a cell linked to Palestinian Islamic Jihad was planning to carry out imminent attacks against Israelis.
The raid’s death toll is the highest in a single operation ever recorded by the United Nations since the international body’s records began in 2005.
Late Friday, Palestinian militants also fired two rockets from the Gaza Strip towards southern Israel that were intercepted by missile defences. Israel then carried out strikes in Gaza as well.
There was no immediate claim for the rocket fire and no immediate reports of casualties from the subsequent Israeli airstrikes.
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The top US state department official on the Middle East, Barbara Leaf, said the administration was deeply concerned about the situation and that civilian casualties reported in Jenin were quite regrettable. But she also said the Palestinian announcement to suspend security ties was a mistake.
United Nations and Arab mediators said on Thursday afternoon that negotiations were being held with Israel and Palestinian factions across the West Bank and Gaza Strip in an effort to calm the situation. The United Arab Emirates, China and France have also asked the UN Security Council to meet behind closed doors on Friday.
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Israel did not give any immediate indication it was engaged in talks. The defence minister, Yoav Gallant, put forces in the occupied West Bank and on the Gaza frontier on heightened alert.
The prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said that Israel was not looking to escalate the situation, though he ordered security forces to prepare for all scenarios in the various sectors.